By Mfanafuthi Bhara
The lack of quality education about diabetes negatively impacts the ability of patients to live healthy with the condition, states Dr Patrick Ngassa Piotie of the University of Pretoria (UP) Diabetes Research Centre, voicing the need for “standardized diabetes education programmes that are accessible nationwide”.
“Education is the cornerstone of diabetes care,” explains Dr Piotie. “Diabetes is a chronic condition, and affected people need to be informed and taught the skills required to manage the disease daily. They need to be equipped to become active participants in their care.”
Evidently, the lack of quality education brings about diabetes-related complications such as amputation, kidney failure, stroke, and blindness, says Dr Piotie. “Our efforts and those of other non-profit organisations and diabetes research entities are sporadic and unsustainable.”
World Diabetes Day. Dr Piotie statements come as we mark World Diabetes Day on 14 November with the theme of “Education to protect tomorrow”. He is the Project Manager of the Tshwane Insulin Project of the UP Diabetes Research Centre.
According to the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF’s) estimations, there are 4,2 million people in South Africa living with the condition, and 45.4% of them are not diagnosed to date.
The government has adopted the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) diabetes coverage targets to improve and track diabetes response measures of national noncommunicable disease programmes. This is to facilitate access to equitable, comprehensive, affordable, and quality treatment and care.
“Diabetes is the number one cause of death among women in South Africa and the second cause of death among men and women combined, only second to tuberculosis,” says Dr Piotie.
People living with the condition. According to the IDF, 24 million people are living with the condition in Africa, translating to one in 24 people and amounting to 416,000 related deaths in 2021.
The number of people with the condition increases to more than half a billion on a global scale, meaning one in 10 people have the condition and resulting in 6,7 million related deaths in 2021. It is set to rise to 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045. In Africa, the number is expected to add up to 55 million in 2045.
As part of the national health department’s efforts of ensuring better early detection and treatment of diabetes and hypertension, the 90-60-50 cascade strategy was introduced in 2022.
It allows 90% of persons over 18 to remain informed about their raised blood pressure and/or blood glucose. Overall 60% of individuals having raised blood pressure or blood glucose are to be provided with interventions and 50% of them are to obtain controlled interventions. YC
Editing by Gaby Ndongo. Feature image by Diabetesmagazijn.nl on Unsplash.